Sins of the Fathers

Unfortunately, certain groups have blown some passages of scripture out of proportion, even to the extent of building false doctrines around them (Peter warned about this in 2 Peter 3:16). Usually the ones who do this have their own axe to grind, and typically pull verses out of context to try and support their non-Biblical viewpoints. Also, some people seem to have a natural tendency to focus on the negative aspects of whatever they come across, and will therefore obsess over Bible verses that fill this neurotic need. Perhaps one of the most widely misapplied Bible passages to this end is Exodus 34:6-7, in regards to generational curses.

God is talking to Moses in this passage, in which He teaches us some aspects of His nature. One of the things He reveals is that children can suffer the consequences of their parent’s sin for several generations. (It is just like human nature for us to gloss over all the stuff about love and forgiveness and being slow to anger in the first part of this passage, and focus instead on the punishment part.) God does make it clear that the resulting suffering of the great-grandchildren is a form of punishment. There is no getting around this. As uncomfortable as this idea may be for church-age Christians who are studying the Bible, the concept of generational curses is Biblically valid.

Since this was God-to-Moses Old Testament stuff, the first thing we should seek to understand is whether or not it only had Mosaic Law period application. After all, Christians are free to eat ham and work on Saturday. We don’t drag rebellious teenagers to the center of town and stone them to death (if we did, there may be no further generations). In seeking the answer this question, it is worth considering the passage of Jeremiah 31:29-30. Those days which are coming, however, seem to be referring to the Millennial Kingdom period, when you read the entire passage which precedes it. Atheism is big in Israel today, so the conditions described starting in verse 23 are certainly not present at this time. Consequently, I do not have a concrete answer as to whether or not generational curses are still applicable in today’s time period; but, having nothing to indicate the contrary, I suspect that they are.

It is important to understand that generational curses are a punishment from God, not something man is to attempt to govern himself. Passages such as Deuteronomy 24:16 and Ezekiel 18:20 make this very clear.

In Jesus’ time they evidently still believed in generational curses, as the disciples asked Jesus whether the reason a certain man was blind was because of his own sin or that of his immediate ancestors. Interestingly, Jesus told them neither – the blind man was simply there for Jesus to perform a miracle on as a testimony to his ministry. The disciples had incorrectly believed that every afflicted person was suffering the direct consequences of a specific sin, which either they had committed themselves, or somebody in their recent lineage had. That assumption is still a popular false doctrine today. As Jesus showed us, bad things can happen to you all on their own, with nobody in sight to blame. It is conceivable that you may have to follow your family tree all the way back to Adam to find the culprit!

That leaves us with one important question: Is there a way out of a generational curse for sin? You should already know the answer to this. We have all inherited a generational curse, every single person who has ever been born. We can thank our great-great-great-something grandparents Adam and Eve for that. Perhaps there has been an additional degree of punishment tacked on by a recent relative. So what? Who cares? A curse is a curse and we need to get rid of it, be it the standard or the deluxe package.

The way out, of course, is Jesus. When you accept Christ, the Bible tells us that we undergo a spiritual birth, also known as being born again. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 the Apostle Paul lets us know in no uncertain terms that we are a new creation in Christ. That new creation is removed from the worldly, sinful lineage and has become a child of God instead, according to John 1:12. Your sins have been forgiven! Any and all generational curses that you may have been under have been removed, including the big one! Isn’t that Glorious?

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